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The Culture of Emilia-Romagna

Beginnings

Legacy of the past

Mosaic depicting Anubi, end of 2nd, beginning of 3rd cent., Rimini City MuseumPhaethon stole the chariot from his father Sun but no sooner did he soar into the air than he was lost among the lights andFuneral stone of Attilia started plunging headlong to earth. He touched down in the heart of the Po Delta, where nymphs, his sisters, wept rivers of tears, dedicating to him a poem carved on a stone.

Actually, it was Jupiter who struck Phaethon dead in order to prevent him, chariot and all, from crashing to earth and destroying the planet.

Emilia-Romagna from myth to history. From stories of the gods related by Ovid in the "Metamorphosis", to the birth of the regio VIII, as Augustus named it when he wanted to subdivide ancient Italy into regiones but lacked a single name that could indicate the Adriatic, the Apennines and the Po, the three natural borders mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the middle of the first century A.D. ("octava regio determinatur Arimino, Pado, Apennino"). Before that, there were the Etruscans, the Celts and, in a limited area, the Umbrian-Sabines.

However, from the Neolithic on, this region, an easily accessible crossroads between the North and the South, lacked a cultural and ethnic identity. "Venus", the figure of a woman sculpted in stone, is what remains from the Palaeolithic period; it was found near Savignano sul Panaro. The Bronze Age continues until the so-called "Villanovian"The Caesii mosaic, 50 B.C. Galeata, Civic Museum "Mons. D. Mambrini" civilisation, which derives its name from the first open-air necropolis discovered in Villanova. In this period the centres of Bologna and Verucchio extended into the middle of the Marecchia valley.

From the VI century B.C. on, Etruria has a great influence on the region with Felsina (Bologna) as capital, Marzabotto a thriving centre of commerce, the expansion of busy Adriatic ports in Adria and Spina, where Greek culture predominates, and ports of call in Rimini and Ravenna. There is also strong evidence to suggest the presence of peoples allied with the Etruscans and the Samnites against Rome: the Gauls, notably, and among them, the Senones in the area we now know as the Marche; the Boes, who advanced as far as Parma, and the Lingonians in the North-East.

The land also bears witness to the presence of the Romans, who founded their first colony, Ariminum, in the North, in 268 B.C. Bononia, Mutina (Modena) and Parma were also founded.

The Consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, setting out on the Flaminian Way, which linked Rome to Rimini, opened up the way from Rimini to Piacenza. It is the Via Aemilia, the Roman road along which the most important towns in the region were to grow while, over the Apennine passes, Velleia, Fornovo, Mevaniola and Sarsina were to be gradually Romanized, the latter becoming the centre of a cult devoted to oriental gods.

In Ravenna, at the port of Classe, part of the Roman fleet is based; with Miseno it is one of the most powerful in the Empire. With the fall of the Roman Empire, these towns were to go into decline. Only Ravenna, crowned capital of the West, was to flourish, first falling to the Goths, then to Byzantium, whose splendid, precious mosaics still remain.

 

Among the ruins of Velleia and Marzabotto


The Caesii mosaic, 50 B.C. Galeata, Civic Museum "Mons. D. Mambrini"From Ariminum to Placentia, following the traces of time, in search of our origins. Places once inhabited by others and evidence of a past to be seen and rediscovered, now visiting museums and ruins, now following the ancient ways of Emilia-Romagna. Artefacts unearthed in Villanovian necropolises; examples of local, early Iron Age handicrafts, conserved at Bologna’s Museum of Archaeology; small Etruscan bronzes representing offerers, unearthed in Marzabotto; details of floor-mosaics from a Roman villa, still partially visible in the basement of Meldola and also some bronze ingots exhibited at the Municipal Museum in Rimini, together with marble slabs, graffiti, pots and bricks.

An impressive catalogue of finds. We go back in time as we walk among the columns of the Velleia forum, in the province of Piacenza, where you can visit the "Chalcidicum" Museum. Stroll among the ruins of Marzabotto, at the National Etruscan Museum "Pompeo Aria". Or enter the temple of the oriental divinities in Sarsina, site of a National Museum. All of these are a must for anyone making an archaeological visit of the region.

Etruscan Bronze liver, end 2nd cent., Ciarvernasco di Sèttima, Farnese Palace Museums (Piacenza)
Etruscan Bronze liver, end 2nd cent., Ciarvernasco di Sèttima, Farnese Palace Museums (Piacenza)
The galleries at the National Archaeological Museum of Spina, Ferrara, are also of particular interest, as is Bologna’s Archaeological Museum and the National Museum in Parma. Mention should also be made of the Archaeological Museums in Forlì, Modena and Budrio, in the province of Bologna. Finally, the City Epigraphic Museum in the Church of St. Libera in Ferrara and the Garden of Epigraphs in Rimini are also well worth a visit. In the province of Modena you can visit the archaeological collection inside the Este Castle in San Felice sul Panaro, the Spilamberto collection and the Mammoth Museum in Savignano
Tiberius Bridge over the Marecchia, 27 cent. B.C., Rimini
Tiberius Bridge over the Marecchia, 27 cent. B.C., Rimini
sul Panaro.

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Pubblicato il 28/10/2011 — ultima modifica 21/07/2015
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